Daily D – Exodus 16:4-5
Exodus 16:4, 5 Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ex 16:4–5.
COVID hit a couple of years ago and everything ground to a full and complete stop for a while. Everyone was pretty much confined to home. How does a productivity junkie maximize his or her time in seasons like this? The extra time made it possible to read more books in a year than ever before. There were also online courses to expand knowledge and to refine skills.
One course I took for advanced certification was filled with quizzes. For every hour of study, there was a quiz. Since there was sixteen hours worth of material, there were sixteen quizzes. And yes, you are probably tracking along here and know there was a comprehensive final exam.
The temptation was to speed-read the information and make good guesses hoping to get enough correct answers to move on to the next section of material. After failing a quiz or two, I slowed down and gave focused attention to each section. Even after passing all of those quizzes and the comprehensive final exam, I was not finished.
Next, I had to spend an hour with the woman who made sure I had deeply integrated not only the knowledge presented in the course but also the appropriate applications. We talked at a deep level and she pushed me to my limits. She gave me a special assignment and we set another date in the future to talk again.
Long story shortened somewhat, I finally passed. Then I started over again with another certification and got to meet with this same certification expert for two more separate hours of assessment after hours of coursework and quizzes.
When Israel left Egypt, God gave instructions. We can boil these down to this: Trust me. We saw yesterday one of the most important lessons repeated again and again in the Bible. Where God guides, God provides. We also saw the lesson of hearing and obeying God.
This chapter is all about meat and bread. God provided all they needed and he did it on a daily basis. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” This is less about soup, salad, and breadsticks and more about trusting God to provide what we need when we need it.
Take a look at verse 4 again. There is that unpleasant word “test.” God says, “In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.”
To certify themselves as God’s chosen people blessed by him to bless the whole world, they had to pass a few tests along the way. As you probably know already, what should have been a week-long course turned into a forty-year exercise in repeated failure and beginning again.
God’s test involved a) picking up three or four pounds of miracle bread every morning, and b) picking up twice as much on Friday because they were not to work on the Sabbath. If you are keeping score here, notice how God tells them they can do more in six days through trusting and obeying than they could if they worked seven days a week. This is still true.
So that you can pass this quiz, recall God’s instructions:
- Pick up the daily bread daily, except for the Sabbath.
- Pick up twice as much the day before the Sabbath.
- Stay home on the Sabbath.
This was the test. It was a simple test. Passing this test involved a day of rest. This is an easy test to pass. However, it took the people a while to get it right. Read verses 21-27 and see how some people have a hard time with the simplest of instructions.
Turn the page to Exodus 17 and see how they still did not trust God for water to drink even though they had already passed that quiz once before.
Some people believe God created the heavens and the earth and raised Jesus from the dead but cannot take care of their needs at this moment. God’s response? Trust me.
If you find yourself in the same difficulties regularly, maybe try a different path if you are on land and a different tack if you are afloat.
If you are not getting where you should be going, return to the map God gave you. Figure out where you made your wrong turn. Return to that place and take the right turn. No matter how hard you try, you cannot do God’s will your way and live the life of God’s dreams for you which are far superior than any dream you could ever dream for yourself.
We can move on to the next lesson as soon as we learn these and apply them appropriately.
I will trust God and do what he says.
Our Father, give me the kind of trust in you to respond to everything you say with an automatic Yes. You are better to me than I would be to myself. Please forgive me for shortchanging myself and others with my pursuit of lesser goals. Amen.
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1 Chronicles 22:9-13 But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”